Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Who Killed Vanessa?

I am not sure if Vanessa:  Her Love Story (1935) was ever one of Bob's better movies.  What I can be sure of is that the 74-minute version available today is a butchered version of its original self.  Costumers of the day ran closer to 100 minutes, which means about 25 minutes were at one time cut from the movie.  Whether the blame can be placed on early TV programming which edited movies to fit in a 90 minute or two hour slot along with commercials, or if it was the studio's decision to trim down the movie for use on a double bill.

Fortunately, there are existing stills that gives one an idea of what is missing from the movie.  Unfortunately, they show that most of the cut scenes are of Bob.  It does explain why Helen Hayes seems to have such a larger role than Bob, even though he has top billing. 

From what I can piece together, the movie originally began with an aged Benji (Bob) telling the story of Vanessa at a campsite. 

His story begins with the telling of "Rogue" Herries transitioning from a scoundrel and vagabond to an established gentleman of Cumberland.  The vagabond theme runs throughout the story, starting with "Rogue".  (Bob must have enjoyed playing multiple roles, as young and old Benji and a pigtailed gent!)

It continues with this scene of Benji and Vanessa.  Perhaps he is introducing her to the vagabonds as an explanation of his desire not to be tied down, whether by marriage or a staid place in society. 

And then back to Benji at the campsite, showing he never really changed.  It was only his love for Vanessa that could make him give up his vagabond/roguish life.  It is all one big guess, of course.  It does make you wonder what the original movie was like. 


Carrie said...

I ant even remember the plot of this movie. I think it's one of the few where I started watching, then kinda moved on!

Kathy said...

Yeah, a lot of merciless scene chewing by May Robson and Otto Kruger, Vanessa's insane husband. Best part of the movie is when Bob first appears on screen wearing tight pants and a large cape. As in...rrrfff!